The path that brought me to this poem was convoluted and guided by a dream-like logic, but the poem itself stands alone and needs no context, is touching and evokes an author I’ve not read but now most definitely will do so. It’s by Edward Summer, written shortly after the death of his friend and SF master Robert Sheckley:

You are enchiladas with salsa.
Bad jokes and too many cigarettes.
Old stories retold with relish
A wrinkled smile
and crinkled eyes.

Half remembered plot twists
Naughty thoughts about this or that
Joy and broken hearts
Friends who are strangers
And stranger friends.

We talk about family
Lost and estranged
We talk about Europe
Days in the sun
Days in the rain.

There’s not much science in illness
Nor compassion in pain
One leads to another back and forth
By some twisted route
Toward happiness fictional and real.

If only the stories
Could come true as we wrote them
If only we could craft those ironic endings
With that twinge of harsh recognition
Wrapped in a giggle.

For you, I think,
I’ll remember the enchiladas
And remember the laughs
And remember the crinkled eyes
And perceive the tears as rain to make things grow.